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INCIDENT / ARREST REPORT
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
711 Jackson Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
___ Senior Citizen
___ Child Abuse
___ Involved Alcohol
Reporting Officer's narrative
REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE (Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
At 8:29 p.m., Dispatch received a 911 call reporting an unresponsive male in the parking lot of the Faith and Glory Community Church on South 10th Street. The caller identified herself as Cheryl Harris.
Unit #239 (Officer Rick Winfield) and a YCFD ambulance unit (EMTs Bill Harcourt and Ned Keller) were immediately dispatched. Officer Winfield arrived at the scene at 8:34 p.m. followed by the EMTs at 8:35 p.m.
Upon notification from EMT Keller that the male was deceased, Officer Winfield notified Dispatch and requested backup.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson was notified to respond to the scene at R/I's request.
Unit #305 (Deputy P.J. Watson) and Unit #304 (Deputy Fred Willits were dispatched to the scene and arrived at 8:39 p.m. and 8:42 p.m. respectively.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) arrived at the scene at 8:53 p.m. and found Officer Winfield and Deputies Watson and Willits had secured the area. Environmental conditions at scene upon arrival are as follows: Weather: Cloudy; Ambient Temperature: 48°F / 9°C; Relative Humidity: 92%.
Officer Winfield made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim.
Officer Winfield said that, upon arrival, he was flagged down by an adult female who directed him to the side parking lot of the church. The woman identified herself as Cheryl Harris (Person #2), the 911 caller.
Officer Winfield also observed another adult female crouching over an adult male who was lying down in the parking lot. As Officer Winfield and Ms. Harris approached, the EMTs arrived on the scene, and the other adult female moved away to allow the EMTs access.
The other adult female identified herself as Angie Jennings (Person #3). Both women identified the unresponsive male as Frederick Miller (Person #1). The women said they had been pulling into the parking lot when they saw Mr. Miller fall to the ground and rushed to his aid.
After examining Miller, EMT Keller indicated that Mr. Miller was deceased, and the EMTs withdrew from the immediate crime scene.
Upon hearing that Mr. Miller was deceased, both Ms. Harris and Ms. Jennings became emotional. Ms. Harris was seated in the rear of Deputy Watson's patrol car, where she was secured inside. Ms. Jennings was similarly secured in the rear of Officer Winfield's patrol car.
With the witnesses secured, Deputy Watson and Officer Winfield secured the scene while Deputy Willits escorted some bystanders who had gathered at the perimeter of the scene back to the church's Fellowship Hall where they said they had been when they heard the commotion.
Officer Winfield said that, to the best of his knowledge, the following personnel have had occasion to enter the crime scene area and must be documented by CSU personnel: witness Cheryl Harris, witness Angie Jennings, Deputy Willits, Deputy Watson, and himself.
After receiving the report from Officer Winfield, R/I Murphy contacted Dispatch regarding the status of the Coroner's Inspector and the Crime Scene Unit. Dispatch indicated the ETA for both was approximately 5 minutes.
R/Is conducted a preliminary examination of the scene, noting that there were two vehicles in the side parking lot in addition to the YCSD vehicles: a red Toyota sedan parked in the middle of the lot and a blue Ford SUV parked in a space facing the church building.
The body lay under a parking lot light in a supine position with the legs extended and the arms straight alongside the body. The head was in a northerly direction and the feet in a southerly direction.
Visual inspection indicated the victim was wearing khaki pants, a maroon shirt, black socks, and black shoes. An arrow was protruding from the torso. No other injuries were immediately apparent.
When R/Is concluded their preliminary inspection of the body, Deputy Watson indicated that another witness had come forward. The man identified himself as Jeremy Willis and claimed he had seen everything that happened. Deputy Watson also noted that Mr. Willis had alcohol on his breath and appeared to be somewhat intoxicated. R/Is asked Deputy Watson to secure the witness to allow him to sober up prior to being interviewed.
Coroner's Inspector Johnson arrived at the scene at approximately 9:09 p.m. and joined R/Is at the body's location. Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim deceased at 9:12 p.m. by visual observation that the victim was not breathing and by tactile observation that the victim did not have a palpable carotid pulse.
Inspector Johnson noted that rigor mortis had not begun and that the skin was warm to the touch. Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been less than one hour, but she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy.
Inspector Johnson retrieved a wallet from the victim's pants pocket. The wallet contained a Mississippi driver's license issued to Frederick Vincent Miller as well as several credit cards and other items issued to Frederick V. Miller. The driver's license photograph appeared consistent with the victim's appearance, tentatively confirming the victim identification provided by Ms. Harris and Ms. Jennings. The wallet also contained $82 in cash and various receipts.
Inspector Johnson said the apparent cause of death was penetrating trauma to the torso likely resulting in significant internal injuries. She indicated that an official opinion and further details would be available in the preliminary coroner's report.
After Inspector Johnson completed her initial inspection of the body, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure the integrity of the body, while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses, until the body could be removed from the scene without affecting other evidence.
A preliminary search of the immediate area for a bow or other implement capable of propelling an arrow with sufficient force to inflict the type of injury seen in the victim met with negative results.
Following their preliminary examination of the scene, R/Is spoke to the witnesses Harris and Jennings. (Interview transcripts currently being prepared.) In summary and not verbatim, the women said they were returning to the church to retrieve an item one of them had left behind earlier in the evening. As they drove into the parking lot, they saw Mr. Miller fall to the ground. They immediately went to help him and called 911 for assistance.
After CSU collected DNA and fingerprints from Ms. Jennings, she and Ms. Harris left the scene.
Deputy Watson indicated that Mr. Willis appeared to be sufficiently sober to be interviewed, so R/Is spoke with him about what he had seen. (Interview transcript currently being prepared.) In summary and not verbatim, Mr. Willis said he had been on the patio of the restaurant across the street when he saw a man exit the church and fall to the ground a moment later. Mr. Willis also claimed he saw a person fleeing the scene but could give only a limited description.
After CSU collected DNA and fingerprints from Mr. Willis, he left the scene.
After completing the witness interviews, R/Is joined Deputy Willits and other YCSD investigators canvassing the witnesses in the church's Fellowship Hall. By 11:30 p.m., all witnesses who had been in the Fellowship Hall at the time of the 911 call had been interviewed and released.
R/Is returned to the primary crime scene, where CSU reported the discovery of a pin and a partial shoeprint in the treeline on the south end of the side parking lot.
Evidence remanded into the custody of Forensics Officer T. R. Douglas for transport to the state crime lab for routine analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within fourteen days of this report, with detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.
The body of the deceased remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson. The deceased was removed from the scene at 11:58 p.m. and transported to the coroner's office for autopsy. A preliminary autopsy report is expected within fourteen days of this report.
R/Is left the scene at 12:25 a.m. Before leaving, R/I Murphy instructed CSU to seal the scene upon completion or end of day suspension of processing. CSU to notify R/Is of progress by the end of this date. As of this filing, CSU is still actively processing at the scene.
|REPORTING OFFICER||Samantha Murphy||DATE REPORTED||10/30/2020|
|REPORTING OFFICER|| //Samantha Murphy
|ASSISTING OFFICER|| Ted Armstrong